West End group claims partial victory over city hall
Cardero Grocery in the West End of Vancouver, B.C. on Wednesday November 20, 2013. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
The West End Neighbours group is claiming a partial victory after the City of Vancouver amended bylaws that set the definitions of affordable housing.
The group’s court action may still proceed.
WEN had filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court and threatened to follow through on a lawsuit if the city passed a bylaw allowing for wiggle room on maximum rents. That part of the bylaw was changed and firm limits set.
The amendments were meant to give developers incentives to build rental housing.
By the definition, a 450-square-foot studio apartment in the city being rented for around $1,400 would constitute affordability, says the group.
WEN lawyer Nathalie Baker said while it is a small win the laws still don’t encourage affordable rentals.
“I think it’s a partial victory. It’s certainly an acknowledgement there was a problem with the previous bylaw and that there were no criteria,” said Baker. “It still leaves open that issue of if these high market rents throughout Vancouver constitute affordable rental housing such that the city should be waiving development cost charges to developers and essentially subsidizing them?”
Baker said the group is now considering amending the petition it filed to reflect the changes made by city council and then continuing with the case.